Maria Shriver

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August 7: Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver, Journalist, Author and California's First Lady
Home: Chicago, IL Family: Husband Arnold Schwarzenegger, daughters Katherine (19) and Christina (18) and sons Patrick (15) and Christopher (11) Education: Georgetown University (B.A. in American Studies)

Maria Shriver became California's First Lady when her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, became the 38th Governor of California on November 17, 2003, and has used her voice to advocate on behalf of women, the working poor, the intellectually disabled and families struggling with Alzheimer's. She has created groundbreaking programs and initiatives that educate, enlist, empower, connect and honor people who are what she calls "Architects of Change" in their own lives and in the lives of others.

Maria has organized these initiatives under a banner called WE, and the programs have been successful in motivating people to get involved and unite across gender, economic, and party lines. As Honorary Chair of CaliforniaVolunteers, Maria conceived of and launched the largest statewide volunteer matching network at CaliforniaVolunteers.org. She also has pioneered and promoted a statewide disaster preparedness program called WE Prepare and established WE Build and WE Garden, a children's playground and community garden-building initiative.

Maria has been a lifelong advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. Shriver has worked hard to foster understanding and increase opportunities for employment and friendship. She is an active member of the International Board of Special Olympics, the organization her mother founded in 1968. She is also on the advisory board of Best Buddies, a one-to-one friendship and jobs program for people with intellectual disabilities. In addition, Maria serves as Chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, a bike ride that raises millions of dollars for programs supporting people with intellectual disabilities.

Beyond her role as California's First Lady, Maria continues to be a vocal advocate on behalf of families like hers struggling with Alzheimer's disease. She is Executive Producer of The Alzheimer's Project, a groundbreaking four-part documentary series airing this May on HBO. In addition, she serves on the advisory board of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, a new institute that will serve a national resource for the most current research and scientific information for the treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington 's diseases.

With a career in journalism spanning more than two decades, Maria has been a network news correspondent and anchor for CBS and NBC, winning Peabody and Emmy Awards. She is the author of six New York Times best-selling books. Shriver is a graduate of Georgetown University, with a degree in American Studies. She and Governor Schwarzenegger have four children — Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher. Shriver says, "When all is said and done, my main goal in life is to raise children who feel they are deeply loved ... children who are kind, compassionate and aware of the world around them. If I can do that, I will consider myself a success."